Rebel Heart (Chapter Five, page 1 of 9)

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Lana awoke lethargic and in pain. Her wrist throbbed despite the warmth in her blood caused by the sedative-pain reliever. She gazed at the soft ceiling lighting before tilting her head to see whose quiet voices she heard. The figures were blurry. She raised her injured arm, relieved to see she still had a hand.

With a start, she realized she'd been sleeping. She had too much to do to sleep! She had to find the other keypad. If Arnie smuggled one out of the command center, he may have the remaining keys in his quarters. Lana sat up. The world spun. She shook her head and pushed herself off the bed, hugging her hurt arm to her chest. Nausea washed over her. Her surroundings blurred into light and shadows, and she felt the sickening sense of falling off the cliff again.

"Doc!" The warbled voice was gravelly. A warm embrace caught her mid-fall over the cliff, and the scent of soap and man penetrated her bewildered senses. She sagged against the hard frame.

Hold on, Angel. She couldn't tell if the voice was aloud or in her head until she remembered that the Guardian was likely dead. He hadn't responded to her calls in over three days. Saddened, she made an effort to stand on her own legs. The grip around her was too tight.

Whoever kept her from falling swept her off her feet and placed her again on the hospital bed. Lana sat as soon as he released her and started to her feet again, only to feel a hand planted in her chest that pushed her onto her back.

Warm brown eyes gazed down at her from a sun-bronzed face. He was vaguely familiar, his gaze intense. His features were chiseled, masculine and firm, his brow low and slashed with two dark eyebrows.

Major Brady, she remembered.

Another form crossed her vision, and she sought to make it out as well. Before her eyes could focus, pain jolted through her. Her heart bolted and her body convulsed. The fuzzy, unfamiliar world around her burst into clarity.

"One more?" the doc asked, peering into her face.

"No!" she managed.

He flashed a smile.

"God, Doc, that hurts like hell," a male's voice said from nearby.

"Well, Dan, it's good for you to know I can put you close to death. And bring you back, if I feel like it," the doctor said, stepping away.

"You're a sick man, doc."

"Lana, hon, you okay?" the doctor asked.

Major Brady was staring hard at the doctor, as if ready to pounce if he raised the adrenaline charge gun again. She gazed at the handsome man, unable to shake the sense she knew him somehow. He was large, as were all the genetically engineered, secretive counter-insurgency special forces in the regular army. His shoulders were broad, his chest wide, his stomach flat, his hips lean. He was one large muscle with a direct gaze that made her overly self-conscious.

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